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International Boxing Hall of Fame   1 Hall of Fame Drive   Canastota, NY 13032  P: 315.697.7095 F: 315.697.5356

A "Night of Champions” planned for November 18th to also feature
light heavyweight Jose Torres and welterweight Billy Backus

CANASTOTA, NY – NOVEMBER 1, 2005 – A Boxing Hall of Fame “Night of Champions” featuring welterweight and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio, 2-time middleweight champion Gene Fullmer and middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo, is scheduled for The Empire Room at the NYS Fairgrounds on Friday, November 18, 2005.

“The 'Night of Champions' promises to be an exciting time for all sports fans in Central New York,” said Hall of Fame director Edward Brophy. “It's a tremendous opportunity to mingle with the legends of the sport of boxing.”

The evening will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and consist of photograph and autograph opportunities, food and beverages, silent and live auctions, fight films, and speeches by the celebrity guests. Hall of Fame light heavyweight champion Jose Torres and Canastota's welterweight champion Billy Backus are also scheduled to attend the festivities.

Also, the 2005 Central New York Boxing Appreciation Award will be presented to Danny Akers of Ithaca, NY for his contribution to the sport of boxing in Central New York.

Basilio, nicknamed “The Upstate Onion Farmer,” was born in Canastota, NY. He twice won the world welterweight title, first from Tony DeMarco in 1955 and then from Johnny Saxton in 1956 before defeating Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight championship in 1957. With an aggressive, charging style and a powerful left hook, Basilio scored wins over Lew Jenkins, Ike Williams, and Billy Graham among others during his career. His pro record reads 56-16-7 (27KOs). In 1990, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Boxing out of West Jordan, Utah, Fullmer utilized an aggressive, crowd-pleasing style to twice reign as world middleweight champion. Following a 70-4 amateur career, the rugged Fullmer turned pro in 1951. He won and lost the middleweight title to Sugar Ray Robinson in1957. In 1959 he defeated Carmen Basilio for the NBA world middleweight title and successfully defended it seven times before losing it to Dick Tiger. Fullmer retired in 1963 with a 55-6-3 (24KOs) record that includes wins over Del Flanagan, Gil Turner, Paul Pender, and Tiger Jones. In 1991, he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

A strong, courageous fighter, Antuofermo turned pro in 1971 and worked his way through the middleweight ranks, scoring wins over Emile Griffith, Eckhard Dagge and Bennie Briscoe among others before defeating Hugo Curro for the middleweight championship in June 1979. In his first defense he drew with Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Antuofermo lost the world title via split decision to England's Alan Minter in London. He would challenge for the world championship twice more, losing rematches to Minter and Hagler in 1980 and 1981 respectively. Since retiring from the ring in 1985 with a 50-7-2 (21KOs) record, Antuofermo has turned to acting, appearing in such films as Goodfellas and The Godfather III and the hit television program The Sopranos.

Torres won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympic Games and turned pro in 1958. Under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Cus D'Amato, he won the world light heavyweight title from Willie Pastrano in 1965. During his career he posted a 41-3-1 (29KOs) record that includes wins over Carl “Bobo” Olson, Wayne Thornton, and Eddie Cotton. He has stayed active in boxing as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission (1983-88) and as president of the World Boxing Organization (1993-95). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Backus turned pro in 1962 and was ranked in the Top 10 by 1968. On December 3, 1970, behind an aggressive, slugging style, he defeated welterweight king Jose "Mantequilla" Napoles via 4th round TKO to take the championship. He held the title until 1971 and remained a Top 10 force until his retirement in 1978. During his championship career he registered wins over Jerry Pellegrini, Percy Pugh, and Manuel Gonzalez among others. Backus remained in boxing for many years as a deputy commissioner with the New York State Athletic Commission.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling Don Hamilton at 315-469-5088 or the Boxing Hall of Fame at 315-697-7095. Only a limited number of tickets will be available. All proceeds will benefit the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Gene Fullmer
Vito Antuofermo
Carmen Basilio
Billy Backus
Jose Torres